Tag Archives: Lindsey Stirling

The 12 Best Music Videos of March

Take Flight Lindsey Stirling

by S.L. Fevre, Cleopatra Parnell, Amanda Smith & Gabriel Valdez

Don’t worry, we’re still writing original content for this site, too! We better be, cause this takes a long time to put together. Over 150 music videos were watched. Here are the top 12:

12. “Stole the Show” – Kygo ft. Parson James
dir. Saman Kesh
prod. Geoff McLean

Invaded by aliens? Time to throw a party. That was my favorite part of Independence Day, at least. Too bad they had to blow up the party. “Stole the Show” asks, what if they just came here for dance-offs instead? In other words, “Stole the Show” is better than Independence Day.

11. “Take Flight” – Lindsey Stirling
dir. Joe Sill
prod. Nick Erickson

Can someone just give Lindsey Stirling her own TV channel already? No musician has better adapted positive messaging into a music video career. Her videos always tell stories, they have fun doing so, they sometimes address difficult themes, and they encourage their viewers toward change. The idea that “Take Flight” might be one of her lesser MVs shows you just how much she’s dominated the medium.

10. “When We Were Kings” – Ikey
dir. Xaivia Inniss

Watch a fever dream. Watch it break into delirium. Watch the delirium break into anger. This is reaction to a once great people enslaved, ghettoized, reduced to victims of police brutality – to “niggers, bitches, killers, hoes” by the media, who are murdered in the streets on camera with no recourse even as they’re defined as villains to the establishment and usurpers of white privilege.

9. “Wake” – Dems
dir. Tom Mustill

Give this one a minute to sink in. What it’s doing isn’t apparent at first, but once you figure it out, it’s a well-needed shock to the system.

8. “Bloodstream” – Ed Sheeran & Rudimental
dir. Emil Nava
prod. Danyi Deats

You’d be forgiven if you forgot how good an actor Ray Liotta is. He’s been in so many one-note comedies and B-films lately, you might have overlooked his intensity and pathos. But few can translate character so effectively in the space of four wordless minutes. Everything else removed from the MV – and there are a lot of other reasons to like it – this is a singular performance by Liotta.

7. “Realiti” – Grimes
dir/prod. Grimes

This song is a demo from Grimes’s lost album. Let’s repeat that: this thoroughly awesome and addictively danceable high point in Grimes’ career is just an unfinished demo. What makes the video great is the way it’s shot – it reflects her work with director Emily Kai Bock, who shot her video for “Oblivion” in 2012. Grimes mixes over-hued and saturated scenes, location shots too front- or back-lit, and deepened shadows, all married to the neon, unnaturally lit city night – it evokes the passage of time via lighting and color instead of narrative.

6. “Closer” – JP Cooper

The pain of miscarriage can be hard to convey. One in every four pregnancies ends in one, and yet we fail to educate about the risks and realities. Instead, we teach women to feel as if something’s wrong with them. We teach men to feel as if they didn’t do enough. We teach ourselves to second-guess and feel ashamed. In some places, we even imprison women for them. “Closer” reaches out to communicate a story of loss and pain, of futures that will never be. It’s a momentous music video, and hopefully it can connect to others who have suffered similar pain.

5. “Gibberish” – MAX
dir. Greg Jardin
prod. Jennifer Heath, Garen Barsegian

The definition of a song that’s too clean. It’s catchy, but it needs to sink deeper into its grooves, overlap its tracks a little more, let that brass reverb more. It needs to dirty up. Either way, the music video is pretty spectacular, a mix of forward and reverse motion married through complex choreography, camera trickery, and clever use of CGI.

4. “Lionsong” – Bjork
dir. Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
prod. Stephanie Bargas

Essentially performance art, but what else did you expect from Bjork? If you answered, “An awesome song,” then you’re going to be pretty pleased with “Lionsong.” The performance is alternately heartfelt and cheeky in true Bjork style, but the odd enhancements to her legs, her costume turning into a galaxy – it all becomes something more. For the life of us, we can’t tell you why. We can’t pin a meaning to it or a reason it digs so deep. It just does. That’s the power of Bjork. She gets under your skin and into your subconscious and you can’t say how. It’s like she’s always lived there.

3. “Glass & Patron” – FKA twigs
dir. FKA twigs
prod. Dominic Thomas

FKA twigs continues to know exactly what she’s doing, even if the rest of us don’t. Her music videos exist in the surreal mindspace between fashion, dance, and identity. As the MV’s director, she can mirror the dissonance between our stereotypes and realities through her lighting, costuming, and editing. Stylist Karen Clarkson deserves special acclaim for the costume choices, make up and hair, as does editor Julia Knight, who delivers a nuanced and complicated edit that brings all of it into vibrant life.

2. “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” – Run the Jewels ft. Zack de la Rocha
dir. A.G. Rojas
prod. Park Pictures

We’re not going to put it better than Run the Jewels did, so in their words: “We were tasked with making something that expressed the intensity of senseless violence without eclipsing our humanity. For me, it was important to write a story that didn’t paint a simplistic portrait of the characters of the Cop and Kid. They’re not stereotypes…the film begins and it feels like they have been fighting for days, they’re exhausted, not a single punch is thrown, their violence is communicated through clumsy, raw emotion. They’ve already fought their way past their judgments and learned hatred toward one another.”

1. “St. Jude” – Florence + The Machine
dir. Vincent Haycock

It’s difficult to define music as having “quiet power,” especially that of Florence Welch. Yet how else to describe “St. Jude,” a soul-felt ballad of imperfection, regrets, and changed directions? It’s essentially the cinematic opposite of Welch’s last video, the powerfully angry MV of the month for February, “What Kind of Man.” That told its story through multiple timelines (or realities) and quick editing – “St. Jude” is all one shot. It reflects on life in a similarly apposite way. As communicated early in the video, this is the calm after the storm, the magic hours of dusk where you sit and contemplate as the world dwindles to darkness. The anger’s passed. What’s next? Florence + The Machine are doing something spectacular here, stringing together chapters of emotion that reflect on a life much in the same way an album is meant to.

It’s worth noting that the same choreographer – Ryan Heffington – has choreographed our January (“Elastic Heart” by Sia), February, and March music videos of the month. He also choreographed our music video of the year for 2014, Sia’s “Chandelier,” as well as another in our 2014 top ten, Arcade Fire’s “We Exist.”


14 rappers from 14 countries perform in “Hip Hop is Hip Hop.” It’s a brilliant introduction to how rap is used in different cultures. Click if only because the profits all go to children’s education via UNICEF.

K-Pop gets another shout-out with Fiestar’s stylish dance video “You’re Pitiful.”

Modest Mouse endorses party anarchy in “Lampshades on Fire.”

How did Lucy Rose’s “Our Eyes” not make it onto the list? Whatever, just watch her get eaten by a variety of animals, it’s fun.

While the rest of the country deals with homophobic idiocy from Indiana, Steve Grand delivers “Time,” a music video that reminds us everyone faces the same stories and struggles no matter their sexuality.

More Bjork! Bjork’s “Family” is offered as a “moving album cover” instead of a music video. We still think it counts.

Go Watch This: Lindsey Stirling’s “Roundtable Rival”

by Gabriel Valdez

As we scour our way through dozens of music videos each week, we sometimes come across something we’ve missed. This site’s always been about trying different things out, especially when it means teaming different writers together, and late last year that means we gave music videos a break to try other things.

Now that we’ve brought that coverage back to stay, we’re finding a few gems we didn’t feature, like “Roundtable Rival.” In this case, that means discovering that Lindsey Stirling totally stole the idea that I was gonna steal from Six String Samurai. (No, it’s not really stealing.)

If you’re unfamiliar with Stirling, I could say something snarky like, “That must’ve been one comfortable rock,” but instead I’ll point you to her channel, where she combines playing the violin with her unique brand of hip hop and folk dancing – usually all at once – to create some of the most imaginative (and positive) music videos being made in the industry today.

The 35 Best Music Videos of 2014 (So Far) — #35-26

chosen by S.L. Fevre, Cleopatra Parnell, Vanessa Tottle, & Gabe Valdez

Here it is, our rundown of the top 35 music videos of 2014 (so far). Before anything else, I want to congratulate four friends of the blog for their music video accomplishments – Hayley Williams has helped us in the past and has my eternal thanks for her support. I can’t recommend Paramore’s video for “Ain’t It Fun” enough. The first version of the video was dropped, and even though the song represents a more adult direction for a band she had to reassemble overnight, this second video remembers to celebrate the enthusiasm that’s always run through her music.

On the other end of the musical spectrum, one of our writers today, S.L. Fevre, appeared in Machine Gun Kelly’s “Sail.” The man raps his guts out and put together a complex, charged music video.

Michael Nikolla directed La Sera’s “Fall Into Place,” a beautiful, summery music video that highlights the laid back, dreamy charm of the band’s music.

Lara Hemingway did a bang-up job on the costume design for SVE’s glamorous and suggestive post-apocalypse video “Talking to the Walls.” Her work and the cinematography are my favorite parts of the vid.

Because of these personal relationships, we won’t be ranking the videos I just mentioned, but check them out to see some of the amazing places music videos are heading.

Enjoy our rankings!

-Gabe Valdez

P.S. Because of music copyright law that still doesn’t get this whole Internet thing, we can only feature some videos here, but you can always click on each title to watch it directly on YouTube.

Hideaway Kiesza

35. Hideaway – Kiesza
directed by Kiesza, Ljuba Castot, & Rami Samir Afuni

If dancers are not going to hit every step, they should at least feel every step so much the audience doesn’t notice. Kiesza is not the best dancer, but she feels the music and her atypical crew stands out. There are many little flaws in this single, four-and-a-half minute shot, but there’s so much feeling in it I really couldn’t care less.   -Vanessa Tottle

Katy Perry Dark Horse

34. Dark Horse – Katy Perry feat. Juicy J
directed by Matthew Cullen

My vote put this one in. I fully expect to get in trouble here, but you know what? It’s colorful. It’s cute and cheerful and inconsequentially bubblegum. It’s so thoroughly B-movie that I wouldn’t be shocked to see Kiefer Sutherland waltz into the middle of it chewing scenery. Truth be told, there was a spot earlier in the year when this was on the heavy rotation I normally reserve for dance videos. Guilty pleasure? Absolutely. But as a guilty pleasure, it’s wickedly done, and its ridiculousness was put over the top when the Internet exploded with accusations of “Dark Horse” being Illuminati propaganda. That argument paled only in comparison to the debate as to whether Katy Perry is an Illuminati queen or simply a powerless peon. Because I guess even the Illuminati haven’t figured feminism out yet.   -Gabe Valdez

33. Shatter Me – Lindsey Stirling feat. Lzzy Hale
directed by Everdream

I cannot play the violin and Irish step dance at the same time. Lindsey Stirling can. She mixes a Celtic sensibility with the kind of complex hip-hop backdrops Emancipator have made their bread and butter, a dubstep percussion driving the whole thing insistently forward. As music videos go, there’s nothing particularly special about Stirling’s team-up with Halestorm frontwoman Lzzy Hale. Stirling’s been tearing up YouTube with her hip-hop stepdancing violinist performances for a few years now. “Shatter Me” stands out for some of its imagery, yes, particularly Stirling’s snowglobe figurine. What makes it really stand out, though, is the meeting of two dynamic and powerful female performers who’ve used the internet to carve the sorts of followings that even a few years ago weren’t available to women of their talents.   -Gabe Valdez

Shades of Cool Lana Del Rey

32. Shades of Cool – Lana Del Rey
directed by Jake Nava

I wish the original cut of this had been released instead. I had a chance to see it and its message is much clearer. In the original cut, Lana Del Rey is murdered, presumably traded in for a younger model, but one philosophical comment about death in a magazine and Francis Bean Cobain is shoving herself into talented people’s business. So things got recut, or so the explanation goes. It still ends with Gatsby eyes over a David Lynch road. The message is clear: men still control a woman’s image, not just personally but through the media. Critics complain Lana Del Rey glamorizes a trophy girlfriend lifestyle instead of calling it out, but whether music critics are living vicariously or trolling for readers, they’re bigger purveyors of that lifestyle than musicians today. Lana’s a hero for a lot of people who work in L.A. and understand how much the dream factory huffs its own fumes. It won’t be the first time the new prophet gets dumped by the old religion.   -S.L. Fevre

Fall in Love Phantogram

31. Fall in Love – Phantogram
directed by Timothy Saccenti

This video has flash and creativity. By putting all its effects and angles in black-and-white, my eye’s constantly drawn somewhere new. If it was in color, it might be too ordinary. Watching human forms in front of shifting fractals hints at the out-of-body experience of performing. It also shadows the song’s use of bass refrains, combating synth loops, percussion fills, and vocal codettas.   -Cleopatra Parnell

Birthday Katy Perry

30. Birthday (lyric video) – Katy Perry
directed by Aya Tanimura

I mean the lyric video (and not the horrifying music video that suggests anti-Semitism). Taking you on a tour of a bakery with every silly innuendo written on cakes and muffins makes the song more coy than it really is. Criticize her for terrible metaphors (“It’s time to bring out the big balloons”), but I enjoy a woman who can sing about sex as shamelessly as Whitesnake.   -Cleopatra Parnell

Play It Right Sylvan Esso

29. Play it Right – Sylvan Esso
directed by Remedy & Sylvan Esso

Performance videos are difficult. They have to blend simple ideas that don’t get in the way of the performers with visually arresting devices that differentiate your video of a band playing from everyone else’s. Sylvan Esso uses darkness and simple lines of color to meld the song’s steady bass line and evolving chorus. They use an accessible choreography that’s nonetheless interesting to look at. It keeps us visually interested, but in its simplicity it always refocuses us on the music. The brilliance is that this is a music video any of us could film tomorrow, but few can edit properly. There’s an expert visual rhythm here that’s always in service to the music itself, and that’s what makes this such a great video.   -Gabe Valdez

28. Double Bubble Trouble – M.I.A.
directed by M.I.A.

Essentially a big mash of GIF-ready imagery ready to go viral, M.I.A. fills a deceptively complex video full of 1984 references, “Drone Survival Guide” posters, 3-D printed assault rifles in toy gun colors, and more epilepsy triggers than that famous Pokemon episode where Pikachu sent children across Japan to the hospital. M.I.A. has been the most important cyberpunk musician working since her politically charged 2010 releases of Maya and Vicki Leekx. Hybridizing Britain’s punk imagery, Southeast Asia’s GIF montaging, India’s own habit for anachronistic iconography, and her own anti-Imperialist sensibilities, she’s making a play to become a crucial cyberpunk music video director, too. Aggressive, loud, colorful, bombastic, garish, and pissed as hell, it’s the purest music video reflection of M.I.A. as an artist that we’ve had yet.   -Gabe Valdez

27. Red Light – f(x)

Only in South Korea could f(x)’s new album, just a year off their award-winning Pink Tape, be referred to as a “comeback.” K-pop, or Korean pop, is known for upbeat tempos, flashy group numbers, simple choreography, and above all its amazing sense of schoolgirl-goth-glam fashion. f(x) is one of the guiltiest bands around – I don’t believe anyone expected their new flagship music video to be a piece of anti-government agitprop. Suffice to say, there’s much to be criticized about the bureaucracy and corruption that has put money before lives, allowing a string of avoidable disasters culminating in the MV Sewol ferry incident that cost 296 lives. f(x) uses agitprop imagery – gasmasks, burning books, a 1984 movie theater, programmable audiences – and even updates their fashion to include symbols of rebellion.   -Vanessa Tottle

26. King of Sorrow – William Wolf
directed by Casey Culver

Seedy, steamy, and very alone. I ask you who’s sadder? Women who have sex for a living or a man who has sex to cope with living? He’s stuck in his drink. He’s so sad about himself he can’t interact with the women he’s with. The women are glamorous. Their tattoos speak to individual identities. He’s in designer threads, designer drink, designer bar. What’s his identity? He returns to a silhouette that goes in and out of focus. If he doesn’t want to join in, the women enjoy themselves as if he isn’t there. He can sing into his drink. The spoils of victory – everything you ever wanted and nothing to want anymore. Welcome to Hollywood.   -S.L. Fevre

Watch this site for the rest of our countdown.